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3.7 out of 5 stars
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Of course we have no real way of knowing what the fourteenth century was really like but in this film set in the time of the Black Death director Christopher Smith portrays a grim land stalked by plague and an evangelistic Christianity that is entirely believable. Eddie Redmayne plays Osmund; a novice monk, who has already been tempted by the sins of the flesh and is in love with a local girl called Avril whom he sends away into the forest to escape the plague. His own plague is the doubt that he is a good christian and just as he asks God for a sign so arrives the Bishop's envoy played by Sean Bean. Bean is perfectly cast as the soldier tasked by the bishop to investigate reports of a village in the marshes which has escaped the plague by turning away from God and worshipping a necromancer. Edmund is recruited as a guide and joins Bean's crew of mercenary soldiers on their mission. The English countyside is beautifully portrayed in muted colours throughout and the people are rough, unwashed and authentically portrayed. There is no stylised combat in this film, when violence breaks out it is realistic and brutal and very believable. Eventually the group reach the village which is a picture of order, cleanliness and health but hides a dark secret. Want to know more? Then watch it, this is a good medieval adventure and one of Sean Bean's best roles for a while.
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on 23 August 2010
This is a low budget movie, yet it offers so much. To be honest I was expecting a poor film, regardless of Sean Bean's involvement. I'm glad I was wrong. What this movie does is show that you don't need to spend billions on effects etc . . . to put together a memorable story. The acting, from many actors I've never even heard of, was of a very high standard, and at times I could feel the tension and fear they experienced. This film wins the viewer over by being creepy and cruel, without shoving it in your face. The script holds its own and manages to convey a very powerfully eerie tome.

Where this movie excels, in my opinion, is in the tone it sets. There is something truly sinister and dark laced throughout the entirety of it all and, unlike many similar films, it actually works. No need for monsters or CGI phantoms. It just manages to draw out your fear through the masterful way it is put together.

My rating is not in comparison to masterpieces such as Lord of the Rings, but is based on what it actually is: a low budget fantasy-horror. A great one. If you like a good medieval-style horror, then I'm sure this is a film you'll enjoy. It doesn't boast loads of huge stars and massive effects, but it holds its own amongst many films I've seen recently that cost ten times the production costs.

Black Death is a film that will surprise and please . . . and chill to the core.
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Despite being sold on its blink-and-you’ll-miss-it theatrical release as a fantasy action movie and often being lumped in with Season of the Witch as a poor man’s Medieval horror flick, Black Death is a rather more interesting drama that at once looks at the superstition and paranoia that accompanied the spread of the Bubonic Plague in the Middle Ages through Medieval eyes while also allowing the audience to see beyond mere face value. Eddie Redmayne’s young novice monk, already torn between his vows and the girl he loves, agrees to guide bitter knight Sean Bean and his uncouth band to a village in the marshes untouched by both plague and god, where there are rumors of the dead being raised and unholy rites being practised by a necromancer they are to bring back to stand trial and be executed. As they journey through the plague-riddled land into the heart of darkness, they find instead an idyllic village that seems very much at peace. Appearances, naturally turn out to be deceptive, but is there a supernatural agency at work or is it simply two different systems of belief – Christian and atheist – who believe that the only way to protect themselves from supernatural evil or a vengeful deity is to destroy the other?

The film does a good job of playing with perceptions of various characters as good or bad as they lose or gain some small moral high ground and, despite a distinct sense that something Wickerish this way comes in this bout of general witchfinding, doesn’t quite go as you expect. Everything ultimately has a logical explanation and, as with Edward Woodward’s ill-fated trip to Summerisle, both sides are equally passionate and sincere in their beliefs, albeit with one notable exception in Carice van Houten (whose accent only slips when she raises her voice) who offers either a supernatural or a rational explanation depending on what gives her more power and creates more fear. Even the ending remains ambiguous, with a vague hope for redemption but an expectation of damnation. It’s all conveyed in a surprisingly simple and straightforward narrative that rarely stops to discuss the heavy stuff but is happy to leave it as subtext as atheists and Christians alike rationalise their descent into violence. While it never quite manages to summon up enough unease to really draw you in enough to become a classic, it’s still quietly ambitious and intriguing enough to keep you hooked and hopefully earn it some small cult status in future years.

A decent extras package on the Blu-ray includes audio commentary, deleted scenes and making of featurette.
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It is 1348 and the Black Death is sweeping the English countryside, killing tens of thousands. A young monk, Osmund, has fallen in love with a young girl who has taken refuge in his monastery. His actions lead him to joining a band of the King's men, led by the knight Ulric, on a mission to find a marshland village reputed to be in the grip of witchcraft. Along the way, he hopes to break off and run away with his love. But in the woodlands he finds himself drawn onto a far darker and crueler path.

Black Death is a relatively low-budget movie financed and made in Germany, although the film is in English and has a mostly British cast. It stars Sean Bean as Ulric and Eddie Redmayne - the main character in the recent adaptation of Pillars of the Earth - as Osmund, with veteran actors David Warner (too many roles to list) and Tim McInnery (Blackadder) in support, along with rising star Carice van Houten (noted for recent roles in Black Book, Valkyrie and Repo Men). A bunch of solid supporting actors such as Emun Elliott (soon to be seen in Game of Thrones, along with Bean) and John Lynch (Merlin's father in the BBC series of the same name) line out the relatively small cast.

Given this is a small-budget movie with Sean Bean wearing armour and swinging a sword, the first impression is of a cheesy action flick. Nothing could be further from the truth. Black Death is a surprisingly bleak and dark movie about faith, power and fundamentalism. Sean Bean's Ulric is a far, far cry from his other heroic roles or his out-and-out villains. Instead he's a God-fearing knight who believes absolutely that the Black Death is God's punishment of humanity for its sins. He's a brave and capable warrior, but also utterly unrelenting and ruthless in his quest, capable of killing anyone who gets in his way. Redmayne's Osmund is idealistic and hopeful, shocked by the viciousness of the world and the perchance for violence demonstrated by his new associates.

The film unexpectedly moves into Wicker Man territory when our protagonists reach the supposedly witch-infested town and become engaged in a struggle of faith, reason and power. McInnery is cast against type as the the town headman, with Van Houten as the woman who has brought hope to it. Van Houten is a little too obviously villainous from the off, but her contempt of those who slavishly believe whatever they are told is well-played.

The director, Christopher Smith (best-known for Severance), seems to be aware of the potential for sniggering comparisons to Monty Python and the Holy Grail and with Blackadder, so tackles them head-on. McInnery's casting is possibly one allusion to this, whilst the scene with the monks flagellating themselves as they walk along seems to be a very overt reference to the Grail. Beyond these nods, there is little humour in the film, especially once it moves into its final, dark act.

The film's biggest weakness is that the supposedly wordly wise knights fall a little to easily into a certain and very obvious trap, and whilst the film's focus is commendable in an age of bloated 3D monsters, some side-elements and secondary characters could have done with a bit more fleshing out.

The film's ending is a startling, expectation-destroying sequence. Initially it appears to render the entire film pointless, but on further reflection it raises further questions over corruption and fundamentalism that are surprisingly effective.

Black Death (****) is a dark, bleak and occasionally powerful movie which poses hard questions of its audience. A sometimes uncomfortable watch, this is a far more intelligent and interesting movie than it looks like on first glance. It is available now in the UK (DVD, Blu-Ray) and, on Region 2 import only, USA (DVD, Blu-Ray).
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on 31 January 2015
REVIEWED VERSION: 2011 Magnolia Home Entertainment US Blu-Ray (Region A)
(WAL-MART EXCLUSIVE EDITION - some features may vary from regular retail version)

Director: Christopher Smith

Cast: Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Carice van Houten, David Warner, John Lynch, Tim McInnerny, Andy Nyman, Johnny Harris, Kimberley Nixon

Production: Germany / UK 2010

SYNOPSIS

In 1348 Europe has fallen under the shadow of the Black Death, but there are rumors of a village in the marshland that has been spared from the plague. Further rumors suggest a necromancer is leading the village and raising the dead.
The Abbot (David Warner) tasks Knight Ulric (Sean Bean), a young monk Osmund (Eddie Redmayne) and a small consort of soldiers to investigate the village...

THE PROS & CONS

BLACK DEATH is a gritty, realistic and non-glamorous look at medieval plague-ridden England in 1328. But during the second half of the film there are a few changes that take the movie in a different, more dark fantasy like direction: it goes more into witchcraft and reminded me somewhat of 2006's THE WICKER MAN. Don't get me wrong - BLACK DEATH is a very good movie which I liked a lot, but I felt the second half of the film has some minor flaws. I felt it drifted a bit away from realism and went a bit into dark fantasy. This is not necessarily bad, but I would have preferred if the film would have stayed on its original course.
Director Christopher Smith made some very significant changes in the second half of the script, these including a new ending, and I wonder what the original script would have been like and I wonder if the film would have been better if Dario Poloni's (WILDERNESS) original screenplay would have been used.
The actors are all top notch, especially Sean Bean, who gives his usual superb and convincing performance in the lead, as well as Dutch actress Carice van Houten as the necromancer. Eddie Redmayne as the young monk was also convincing in his role. Especially the change in character is very well done: an absolutely stellar performance that deserves to be mentioned along with Bean and van Houten. Also noteworthy: John Lynch as Wolfstan and David Warner in a very short role as the Abbot.
English director Christopher Smith (known for SEVERANCE) does the most with the limited budget and delivers a gripping and visually pleasing, albeit very bleak film. The pacing is just perfect, with a more than perfect setup in the first half of the film, and a creeping atmosphere that few movies are able to create. Note that BLACK DEATH, while not heavy on the action, does feature some well-choreographed battle scenes here and there.
I loved the cinematography by Sebastian Edschmid: some shots are just breathtaking and add so much to the climax, like the mist-covered swamps.
BLACK DEATH has many redeeming values that make it a really good movie - it ignores its limitations and makes up for them in other ways, and it shows: much effort went into making this film. BLACK DEATH looks great, it has a realistic feeling to it. Smith doesn't flinch either, when facing violence or the depiction of the brutality typical for that time: there is quite some gore here and there, not overdone, but not toned down either. The visual effects of the bulbonic plague are the best I have ever seen in a movie.
Religion, namely Christianity, plays a vital role in the film, and this being the 1300s defending the faith was of course mainly done by the sword, along with a few witch burnings. Different points of view are shown here - the stout believers and the "pagans" - but not in an overly eccessive way, there is no firebrand preaching here.
Overall I was torn between a 5 star and a 4 star rating for BLACK DEATH, but ultimately settled with a "high" 4 stars. The second half did remind me too much of THE WICKER MAN, it breaks away a bit from the original course, not enough to ruin the movie, but just enough to kind of make you wonder, why? If there was a 4 1/2 star rating BLACK DEATH would be that "near perfect". Still highly recommended for Bean fans and medieval fans alike!

ON A SIDE NOTE

- Sean Bean and Carice Van Houten both starred in the hit series GAME OF THRONES, althrough in different seasons
- was shot in chronological order due to Sean Bean only being available for 5 weeks
- Lena Headey was supposed to play Langiva, but was replaced by Carice van Houten. Famke Janssen was also considered for the role
- Geoffrey Sax was originally supposed to direct
- filmed entirely on location in Germany

BLU-RAY DETAILS

Feature running time: 101:42 mins. (uncut)
MPAA Rating: R (strong brutal violence, and some language)
BBFC Rating: 15 (strong violence)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English HoH, Spanish
Extras: Deleted scenes: “Absolution” (1:51), “Prayer” (0:39), “Our Plans” (0:22), “Tears” (1:26), “Bringing Black Death to Life” Featurette (11:35), Cast & Crew Interviews: “Chris Smith” (8:18), “Phil Robertson” (3:31), “Jens Meurer” (2:58), “Sean Bean” (5:12), “Carice Van Houten” (1:49), “Eddie Redmayne” (2:52), “Kimberley Nixon” (0:42), “Emun Elliott” (1:56), “Andy Nyman” (0:58), “John Lynch” (0:48), “Johnny Harris” (0:53), “Tim McInnerny” (1:22), “Behind the Scenes Footage” Featurette (10:42),
“HDNet: A Look at Black Death” Featurette (3:51), Theatrical trailer (1:58), Bookmarks Feature, BD-Live, Digital Copy (US only), Trailers to 6 other movies
Region: A (locked)

Picture quality: 4/5
Audio quality: 4/5
Extras: 2/5

BLACK DEATH was intentionally filmed on extremely grainy film stock and on a low budget. I think it looks good and the bleak colors add to the gritty atmosphere the film has and overall the film benefits greatly from this.
Magnolia's release includes only one audio track, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround, which is very good and clear.
The Blu-Rays lacks in the extras section, featuring mostly one time viewing only extras such as a few short interviews and 3 featurettes. The audio commentary included on the UK Blu-Ray is NOT present on this US Blu-Ray. The disc is region (A) locked.
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on 17 September 2010
This is my first ever review so be patient.

The film is set in the early times of the bubonic plague, where a young monk called Osmond is torn between his faith and the love of a beautiful village girl.

After sending the girl of away from the plague that is sweeping through the country, the girl tells Osmond that she will wait for him for 7 days in the forest, after that she will be gone. Osmond, struggling to make a decision whether to stay in the church or to run off with his lover, asks god for guidance.

Enters Bean (Ulric). A ferrocious, no nonsense knigtht with his band of mercenaries that knowone would dare mess with. They bring news of a village that has renounced their faith and turned against god, also the village is believed to be free from the plague. Osmond volunteers to lead the crew with intention of meeting the love of his life along the way. Unknown to Osmond that the real reason to go to the haven like village is to hunt down a neckromancer (someone who can bring the dead to life), they set off for their journey of discovery.

I won't go through the hole story as I don't want to ruin it for you. Whether or not the exact details are truth or fiction, I really wouldn't let it bother you. The story is played out very believable. Who needs loads of graphics and a massive budget when the story itself is just too good to turn your back on.

Apart from a 2 minute get to know you scene about 20 minutes into the film, their is a real lack of background to the caracters although with brilliant acting and a good script they still manage to come to life under immense pressures and strains the journey brings.

I might be being petty but the only reason I haven't given this 5 stars is the last 30 second of the film. The wrong woman is taken after seeing two women, where one looks excactly like the woman who is being searched for but isn't taken. I don't want to say anyting more but it really has confused me. Maybe I just switched my brain off for 30 seconds I don't know. It's a very annoying part to really good film.

Anyway I hope this review is useful, I also hope I made sense and my english is up to scratch.

P.S. could someone please try to explain the last 30 seconds (why wrong girl etc)
P.P.S it would be nice if I could get a review for my review, would like to know if it was useful/readable or made sense

Thankyou
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on 5 January 2011
I find myself falling into the 4-star rating along with the [current] majority. As I enjoy Sean Bean movies, most of the time, I had reasonably high expectations of this one as he is a rather gruff Englishman portraying a knight, Ulric, in difficult and dark times as far as English history goes.

Whilst the story does not seem to follow any particular true history apart from the fact there was a plague in the 14th century, it does have a good gritty feel to it. The camera work is nice, and the locations were very suitable. The fighting scenes were quite bloody, and more grisly than I had expected, though given the nature of the movie fits in well rather than standing out as too gory.

I find it unusual that only Sean Bean is named as a leading actor. For me the story centered strongly on Eddie Redmayne as Osmund the young monk, who played his role very well throughout, rather than Ulric. Sean Bean did not disappoint, however, and the fate of his character came somewhat as a surprise. I was surprised to see Ian McInnerny (from various "Blackadder" roles) in this movie, although it took me a moment to realise who he was, as he's gotten more bulky in the last 20 years.

I agree with other reviews that the movies ends with an anti-climax - somewhat disappointing and leaves the watcher wanting when the movies actually ends, but does not ruin the whole movie by falling flat. There also seemed to be a build-up, when we first meet Sean Bean's mercenaries, of some form of iron maiden style device that can split a man in two, but its use is never implemented as anything more a cage. To me it was like waiting for a trap from a Saw movie to go off, and it never happens.

Worth watching, if you like movies set in medieval times. Expect no magic or witchcraft in this, it's not a fantasy movie.
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Black Death is directed by Christopher Smith and written by Dario Poloni. It stars Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, John Lynch, Tim McInnerny, Kimberley Nixon, Andy Nyman, Johnny Harris and Carice van Houten. Music is scored by Christian Henson and cinematography by Sebastian Edschmid.

1348, Year of our Lord, the bubonic plague is ravaging Europe. When word spreads of an isolated community that is plague free, a gang of Gods' soldiers are tasked with seeking it out under the impression it might be a haven to occult dealings. Guiding the group is rookie monk Osmund (Redmayne), who after falling in love with a young girl is conflicted about his faith. He takes the soldiers' request for a guide as a sign to find his true calling, what he and the soldiers find at the end of their journey, however, has far reaching consequences for them all.

Considering it was a limited release in theatres it's a little surprising to find so many have sought it out on home format release. What isn't surprising, given its themes, is how it has polarised opinions. Personally I love it, this in spite of director and writer cribbing from notable Brit movies of our past. Yet even when I was in the supposed sanctuary of our home during this latest visit to the film it was met with derision from the lady love of my life! After director Smith (Severance/Triangle/Creep) has well and truly pulled the rug from underneath us to tantalisingly leave things ambiguous, he slots in a coda that muddies things still further, simultaneously infuriating another portion of the movie watching populace. I write this because of two reasons, the first is to obviously intrigue potential first time watchers into taking the plunge and giving it a go, the second is to negate the underselling of the movie by its own director!

Somewhere along the way Smith chose to not sell it as a battle between religion and atheism-Christians against Pagans, but went for the more pleasingly medieval men on a mission aspect, which for the first half of the movie it is. Perhaps those sneaky loans from the revered films that have influenced it weighed heavy on the director post the release and critical appraisals? But undeniably it's the second half that carries the thematic thrust. True enough to say that following a chainmail clad Sean Bean and his grungy band of "mercs" traverse the land, fighting off bandits and the plague along the way, is good formulaic fun, but it's when they happen upon the marshy set village, greeted by a ghostly Carice van Houten and a unnervingly smiley Tim McInnerny, that the film really hits its stride. Thus opening up debates as the battle for Osmund's soul truly begins and we are asked just who are the good and bad guys here?

Filmed out in the forests of Saxony Germany, the film looks terrific in the context of the period it is set. The colours are deliberately stripped back and muted, this plague ravaged land, and persons, demand that to be the case. There's some initial annoyance with the "shaky-cam" formula during the more up-tempo sequences, this is something that is becoming a staple requirement by directors of historical pictures, but Smith thankfully doesn't over do it and achieves good atmospheric realism throughout. It's interesting to note that the Pagan villagers are clean and sprightly, while the Christian soldiers are grimy and grotty, life of the medieval soldier was bloody and bloody dirty work. When the excellent Andy Nyman as Dalywag takes a leak up a tree, he merely wipes his newly whetted hand on his tunic, it's little things like this that keep the film in the realm of realism, an awareness of the time indeed. Cast attack the material with good thespian seriousness, with Lynch and Harris scoring well as polar opposite characters in the supporting ranks of Ulric's (Bean) band of not so merry men.

It's not overly gory, Smith choosing (correctly) to let us at times fill in the blanks in our head, while the fight scenes are very well staged (Bean was very pleased with how they turned out). But ultimately it's the themes in the story and period setting that is of the most interest here. What ever side of the fence you sit on as regards religion, or how you feel about humanity being depicted so coarsely, Black Death will get a reaction out of you. 7.5/10
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 June 2011
If you expect exciting medieval adventures and swordfights, this movie is not for you. This film is in fact a story about a trial of faith imposed upon a small group of men in England, in time of possibly the worst cataclysm in history of Europe: the deadly plague of 1348-1352. This horrible epidemic killed 50% of Europe population in only four years (and probably as much as 60% of population of England, Wales and Scotland). There was no cure for the plague in this time and a great majority of people who became ill died - and their death was a horrible and painful one. This epidemic is generally known as "Black Death", but in my personal understanding of the movie, the title does not refer only to the plague (see below).

The story takes place in 1348, somewhere in England (LIMITED SPOILERS FOLLOW). As the plague is killing hundreds of people every day, rumours start to circulate that there is an isolated village in the middle of marshes, which not only is magically protected from the epidemic but in which a necromancer raises the dead from their graves. Later, even worse things are told about this place, tales of blasphemous pagan ceremonies, human sacrifices and even cannibalism. Initially sceptical, local bishop finally dispatches his personal envoy and a group of soldiers to investigate. The movie will follow them as they go towards their destiny...

The personal envoy of the bishop is a noble knight, Ulric (Sean Bean), a grizzled veteran of many wars, who recently lost all his family to the plague and for that reason is in deep mourning. Ulric is a wealthy man, quite educated for a provincial knight (he can read and write and even speaks Latin). He is a natural leader both feared and respected by his men and he is also a devout Christian, but his recent loss brought him to the verge of madness. He accepted this mission in part to keep his sanity by getting busy and forgetting at least partially the death of his wife and children.

Ulric's second in command is Wolfstan (John Lynch), a middle aged man who seems to be a squire who never became a full knight. He is a tough man who makes his living with the sword in hand, but is also well spoken, honourable and good to his word.

The rest of the group is a wild bunch of professional foot soldiers, tough and battle scarred veterans all of them. They served together in France under Edward III and fought in the great battle of Crecy in 1346. Griff (Jamie Ballard) is Wolfstan's best friend and they travelled and campaigned together for years. Swire (Emun Elliott) seems to be the youngest of the group, he is also the most talkative, the most wise-cracking and the only one who seems to really care about his clothes and haircut.

Mold (Johnny Harris) is a rugged peasant who long time ago chose the battle axe other the scythe and never regretted the choice. Ivo (Tygo Germandt) was once captured by the French and later rescued by his companions - but not before his captors cut his tongue... Last but not least there is Dalywag (Andy Nyman), a man who once was a bandit, later became a mercenary and who now works for the bishop as torturer and executioner. At one moment Swire tells about him "he is a torturer and executioner; he is also a thief, a murderer and a defiler of women - but other than that he is really a good man..."

In his quest Ulric needs a guide who knows the local forest and especially the treacherous marshes. Being the personal envoy of the bishop he commandeers for this purpose Osmund, a young monk from a monastery near the marshes. Osmund, who is barely out of his teens, actually is quite eager to go, because he has his own agenda, which will have a considerable influence on the rest of the story...

Once they reach their destination Ulric and his men expect to meet great danger in this isolated village and they will be served beyond their worst expectations! They will be tried and tested in their chair but even more in their faith - and the test will be so horrible that at one moment some of them will be ready to fight for the privilege of being tortured and killed because the alternative will seem too horrible to contemplate! Some will pass the test and some will fail - and in both cases there will be surprises...

In my personal opinion to better understand the second part of the movie (the trial of faith) it is important to remember some fragments from the Bible. You should ponder the First Commandment, the story about Jesus being tempted by the Devil in the wilderness, the fragment which describes how Judas died and the passage of New Testament about the false prophets. It is also important to remember that one of the names of Satan is "The Prince of Lies"...

The Devil being present in every place and time where and when even a single human being lives, he is also very much present in this village. Unusual (at least for XIV century England) customs observed by the villagers and especially by their leader will allow the Prince of Lies to have some very special fun with the newcomers. The terrible trial of faith to which Ulric and his men will be submitted will decide if they save their souls or if they are damned and can be claimed by Satan.

Now, Satan is of course interested in every human soul and tries to attract toward damnation as many people as he can, without ever giving up on anybody until his/her very last breath, but some are obviously more interesting than others. Ulric is so horribly damaged by his recent loss and in so much pain, that he is nothing more than a burned out wrecked empty hulk of a man he once was. His men all spend their lives killing, plundering and committing all other deadly sins - and with the possible exception of Wolfstan they are already more or less damned anyway. So dragging them to hell seems to not be much of a challenge for the Devil, but rather just a routine chore, necessary and useful but uninspiring, like repainting the outhouse...

But with Osmund, this is a whole different story. He is very young (probably around 18), he is gentle and peaceful by nature and being an orphan he lived all his life protected by friendly monks and under tender care of the old abbot who raised him almost as a son he never had. Even if he is a sinner, as all men, the sheltered existence he led preserved him from most of the worst aspects of life - and therefore his soul is mostly innocent and pure. For the Devil, Osmund is the top prize in the game he sets and capturing this soul would be in devilish works the equivalent of painting the Sistine Chapel. It is also quite frequent that the purer the person before he/she turns bad, the worse will be evil he/she visits on the world. For all those reasons Osmund will be tried, tested and tempted in the worst possible way, with indeed devilish cunning and sadistic cruelty.

But who gambles, takes the chance of loosing, no matter how loaded are the dice. And for that reason the final result will not be entirely satisfying for the Devil - although in my modest opinion he will still end ahead of the game... Ultimately, some of "heroes" will live and keep their chances to earn their salvation before their time comes. Some will die but save their souls. And some, be they dead or alive, will be claimed by the Devil and therefore suffer the real "Black Death"...

I found this movie devilishly clever and surprisingly good and I encourage everybody to watch it at least once and decide if it is worthy or if it should be sentenced to the purgatory of charity sale or even the damnation of garbage bin. Enjoy!
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on 27 March 2016
I cannot understand why this was not a success in the cinema. It is one of my favourite films and builds the suspense slowly until you get to a truly horrific ending, similar to two of my favourite films, 'Race with the Devil' and 'Wicker Man'. It is very bleak as the title suggests but the story, the fight scenes and the setting are very realistic. A great film and my friends think so too! The lady in it, (Carice Van Houten), is truly a powerful woman and at times, a really frightening character.
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